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This paper investigates the impact of applying optimisation and simulation approaches for energy system modelling and scenario design in a municipal context. In doing so, the previous understanding of what constitutes “optimisation” and “simulation” is expanded with further distinctions and it is documented how the outlined modelling approaches are applied in the existing literature. In a practical comparison, it is tested how the choice of modelling approach influences the design of future energy system scenarios for a municipal case study. The energy system scenarios and results obtained from a proposed stepwise simulation approach are compared to an established multi-objective optimisation approach. The results show that for the investigated municipal case it is possible to obtain results with a simulation-based approach that are comparable to the results obtained from multi-objective optimisation. Ultimately, the choice of modelling approach is a complex issue in which modellers must consider the necessary degree of modelling freedom, stakeholder involvement, and available system knowledge. Modellers need to consider not only what tool to use, but also how it is used; a tool can be used for both optimisation and simulation, and both can be valid approaches for developing future energy system scenarios.
- Municipal energy system scenarios
- Energy system modelling
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